Energy agencies address Mindanao power situation

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Saturday, March 1, 2014


THE Department of Energy (DOE), together with the National Power Corporation (Napocor), National Transmission Corporation (Transco), and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), is closely monitoring the power situation in Mindanao as the investigation on the root cause of the system-wide shutdown is underway.

In an earlier meeting with the concerned energy agencies, NGCP reported that the Mindanao system demand stood at 785 megawatts (MW), and the supply is 853 MW accounting to 93 MW reserve when the incident occurred at around 3:52 a.m. of 27 February 2014. Initial reports indicate that the tripping emanated from the breaker of the Agus 1 switchyard. The breaker or the switchyard of the power plants is the facility that links the power plant to the transmission network.

The following were the plants that tripped (in chronological order) that led to the system collapse: Agus 1 Unit 2, Unit 1;Agus 2 Unit2, Unit3, Unit1; Agus 7 Unit 2; Mt. Apo Geothermal; Pulangi Units 1 &2; Agus 7 Unit 1; Agus 4 Units 1,2&3; SPPC; Agus 5 Unit 1, Unit 2; Agus 6 Unit 6; Steag. These plants have a total capacity of 677.2 MW.

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At present, the DOE and Transco are gathering all the facts to validate the reports from NGCP, NPC and IPPs. NGCP and NPC were tasked to reconcile their data and provide their respective loggers, which contain the recorded sequence of events. NGCP and NPC shall be conducting technical evaluations of condition of the switchyard and the power plants, of which Transco is tasked to interpret the results.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said "while we are concerned to determine the root cause, what we immediately did is to bring back power first,” adding that “thorough technical investigation is being undertaken to determine the root cause of the blackout and be able to take immediate actions to prevent similar incident in the future."

Since the 210 MW Steag is still undertaking assessment of their facilities, there will be 2 to 3 hours of rotating brownouts in certain franchise areas during peak hours (6-9 PM), depending on the supply management of the Distribution Utilities (e.g. electric cooperatives).

The plant operator is still undergoing further technical inspections to pinpoint the effect of the system failure on the plant’s integrity.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 02, 2014.

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